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AQA A Level RS (ethics and philosophy) > Conscience > Flashcards

Flashcards in Conscience Deck (8)
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Kohlberg: conscience as behaviour developed through social interaction

Used dilemmas to establish 6 stages of moral development
Eg dilemma of heinz

Preconventional level:
Stage 1: odedince to norms as disobedience leads to punishment
Stage 2: individual behaviour determined by what is in best interest of individual

Conventional level:
Stage 3: do what will gain approval of others
Stage 4: responding to what is seen as ones duty through obedience to law

Post conventional:
Stage 5: understanding of social interaction and genuine interest in others
Stage 6: based on respect for universal principles and the demands of individual conscience


Freud: conscience as an aspect of the super ego:

Super ego: “inner parent” place where parents moral commands are stored

Internalised so cannot escape them

Conscience= negative aspect of the super ego, expressing itself consciously or unconsciously as guilt or shame


Durkheim: conscience as sanctions or social conditions

Collective conscience: an act is bad because it opposes the views of society and of the common conscience

People sticking to shared moral values leads to a society becoming stronger

Conscience: perceived loyalty to a particular group
Eg guilt about food
In fear of society judging you for being too fat or too thin


Fromm: authoritarian and humanistic conscience

Authoritarian: internalised response based on fear to the demands of an authoritarian soviety. Disobedience creates guilty conscience.
Eg nazis manipulation of German conscious to not feel guilty about Jews

Humanistic: seeks and understands what will lead human and social flourishing. Challenges elements of society that are destructive of human well being. Intuitive knowledge. Innate sense of right and wrong expressed.


Augustine and Schleiermacher: innate voice of god

Augustine: put into human minds by god so it amounts to an innate knowledge of gods moral laws

Schleiermacher: innate voice of god therefore must always be obeyed, takes priority over everything else.


Aquinas: conscience as god given faculty of reason.

“Mind of man making moral judgements”

Humans have natural inclination to synderesis rule: do good and avoid evil

2 aspects of conscience:

>using practical reason to acquire knowledge and understanding of Primary precepts of natural moral law

> distinguishing between right and wrong and making ethical judgement in each situation using secondary precepts

Mistaken through ignorance:
> vincible ignorance: don’t make every effort to be aware of and understand church teaching = sin

>invincible ignorance: made every effort but ambiguity in church teaching= not a sin

Once conscience has made judgement must be obeyed



Conscience is a verb

“Conscience is merely a word for our attempt to make decisions creatively, constructively and fittingly”


Butler; conscience as a god given faculty: intuitive, reflective and autonomous

Conscience = enables us to assess what is right and to keep balance between self love and altruism. Thus enabling us to decide what is right and wrong.

Reflection: given by god and works closely with conscience